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Saint-Emilion: 1990s

March 5, 2018

Timothy Goh of Vinum Fines Wines, Singapore, was very kind to invite me for dinner at Imperial Treasure Great World on 22 Jan 2018, where we were joined by Vinum’s Vice-Chairman Lindsay Hamilton, formerly of Farr Vintners. The theme was Saint-Emilion nineties and we ended up with an outstanding line-up, notwithstanding an out-of-place L’Evangile and a youngish L’Arossee.

1999 Ch Cheval Blanc, courtesy of Kieron. Displaying a deep ruby, this wine exudes a lovely deep fragrance of red fruits, cherries, currants and red plums amidst earthy undertones. Somewhat awkward on its initial entry but it opened up to reveal bright tones on the fleshy palate, imbued with saline minerals amidst a rich presence of ripe fruits though it turned rather stern quite quickly as firm tannins exerted their presence. Good stuff, but requires more cellaring.

1998 Ch Figeac, courtesy of Tim. Gorgeous deep color with some evolution, showing a lifted deep fragrance of red and dark fruits, excellent in concentration and layering with fresh well-mannered acidity and good linearity, jus a tad short.

1998 Ch Clos Fourtet, courtesy of Tim. Deep crimson. Slightly reticent with just a hint of hot stones, displaying dark palatal tones with a firm note of licorice, gravel and early shades of cedar, well-structured with fine underlying intensity.

1998 Ch Tertre Roteboeuf, courtesy of Pipin. Deep crimson, proffering generous savoury tones with an expansive palate of mocha and ripe dark berries, layered with smooth sweet velvety tannins and understated acidity. Excellent, yet to peak.

1996 Ch Angelus. This wine leaps out of the glass with a deep complex bouquet of ripe dark berries, dense fruit, dark currants and cedar, its wonderful lift producing a superb thrill for the senses. In spite of that, the full-bodied palate is open and placid, poised with very fine detailed tannins suffused with sublime acidity amidst a rich minerally core that imparted great opulence and succulence, still amazingly youthful, fresh and vibrant. Absolutely stunning with arresting impact, very different from another bottle tasted back in 2012 which had seemed lean and reticent. Purists may prefer a more traditional approach with better definition of terroir but this bottle is undoubtedly delicious and highly attractive.

1995 Ch L’Evangile, courtesy of Dr Ngoi. This wine exudes a beautiful deep fruity nose dotted with a delicate perfumed fragrance, full but placid, layered with superb detail and depth of fruit amidst high-toned minerals. Excellent.

2005 Ch L’Arossee, courtesy of Robert Kwok. Brilliant purple. Not showing much on the nose but the palate is imbued with a full tone of ripe berries and medicinal notes framed by sweet dark tannins, exuding a lovely rich presence. Excellent, but perhaps best to lay down further.

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